Our Favourite Summer Beach Reads

As you start packing to jet off somewhere hot and sunny, do you know what books you’ll be bringing alongside your sandals and sunnies?

But there’s no need to resort to bad chick lit (or anything with ‘Grey’ in the title…ahem). We’ve picked 6 of our favourite beach reads to get lost in while you work on your tan.

The best books to sunbathe with, as suggested by the Dune London team
The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
So many of our friends have been recommending this book to us. If you feel like your life is in need of an overhaul, this book will put you on the right track. It’s all about how positive thoughts bring about positive things in our lives – just imagining yourself living the life you want is enough to bring it about. Worth a shot we say …

Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann
Although published in 1966, this book is still highly addictive as a gripping exposé of the exploitative ‘machine’ that is Hollywood, told through the lives of three young girls looking for love and success in Tinseltown. Featuring lotharios with names like Lyon Burke, together with some fantastic bitch-fights (one of which involves a wig getting flushed down the loo), it’s a page-turner from start to finish.

Room – Emma Donoghue
This book is narrated by 6-year-old Jack, whose innocence provides an fascinating angle on the harrowing situation he’s unwittingly in. Jack has only ever lived in one room with his mother, who receives nightly visits from a man called ‘Old Nick’ while Jack hides in the cupboard. Yet during the day they play imaginative games as his mother tries to hold on to her sanity and make life as bearable for them both as possible. Heavy-going it might be, but there is a certain event halfway through the book that will have you glued to the pages.

The Pursuit of Love – Nancy Mitford
Ok, so the title sounds like some soppy love story – but trust us, it’s not. Set between the world wars, the book centres on the eccentric Radlett family (who are based on the author’s own family). It’s narrated by their young cousin who goes to stay with them while her reckless, yet incredibly glamorous mother ‘The Bolter’ flits from one doomed marriage to another. Beautifully written, we defy you not to fall in love with it.

Anita & Me – Meera Syal
One for any fans of the 60s, Anita & Me is a coming-of-age story about a young Asian girl growing up in a predominantly white working class village in the Midlands. She befriends local ‘bad girl’ Anita and spends most of the book trying to fit in with the local ‘wenches’ as well as keeping her parents happy. She’s also the book’s narrator and her witty sarcastic observations of her overbearing aunties, together with her oddball neighbours (who tell her dad he looks like Omar Sharif) make the this a great read.

Atonement – Ian McEwan
If you loved the film with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, the book is so much better. A tragic love story, yet ultimately redemptive, McEwan paints a fascinating portrait of the WWII battlefield and how a someone's thoughtless actions can set off a chain of events with unforeseeable consequences.
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